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Bruce Lee once said,"Do not see your opponent and say 'I will win this fight'. Just the same as you do not say 'I will lose.' Instead, simply become the fight and allow whatever happens to occur."

For the longest time, I had a horrible doubt in my abilities to perform in actual life-or-death combat. I was sure that either my judgment would fog, my training would leave me in fear, or that I might just freeze up all together. Then, two years ago, my teacher asked me what was wrong. I spilled, telling him everything you know and more. He simply said, "Fear is an acronym for False Emotions Appearing Real. It has no power unless you give it power, and you automatically will. You have to remember that every situation in life is just like all the others. There are elements that you can control and those you can't. If you truly understand this, there will be no problem when the time comes."

A little less than two months later, I had just gotten out of the class where I taught Rape Deterrence and headed to Jackson's (a small restaurant in the center of Hillsboro Village). I had gone to see the girl I was dating, Rebecca, but she was not working so I had a cup of coffee, looked over my teaching plans and headed home.

Before I go further, I just want to take a moment to let you know that I have no idea what was going through the minds of these two men when they decided to pull this, and I didn't ask. I was wearing my black gi that I always teach in and was carrying a large binder with a Tao of Jeet Kune Do cover.

I had taken the alleyways home (as is my usual route; it's much quicker that way) and was one block from my destination when it happened. One man (an African American, 5'7-8, 180-200lbs, dirty red T-shirt, dark slightly baggy jeans and fancy blue sneakers) stepped out of the adjoining alley. He was closely followed by another man (Hispanic with a tinge of what looked to be Apache(?), 6'4-5, roughly 220-235, very muscular, white button down dress shirt, denim blue jeans, and low-top work boots). The smaller of the two walked up to me, knife already drawn and half-leveled at me. The only words spoken during the entire incident by either of them come into the story now.

"Wallet and watch, asshole, or get cut."

I looked at the big guy and somehow knew that he didn't pose a threat in size, but in another way. And that the other way was tucked into the back waist of his blue jeans. I know it sounds cheesy but I knew it better than my own name. I decided to give them what they wanted and started to reach for my wallet. I had just enough time to think that it wasn't the money I was worried about, oh no, but my license and Social Security card and my... when the shorter guy started to advanced, the knife leveled at me fully. Suddenly, it was like I had all the time in the world to think and not enough to act. I realized that he had decided to cut me regardless of what I did. My mind from that point on was cleared of everything except strategizing my next move. As if connected, the world seemed to slow to a crawl and I felt as if I was moving at twice my normal speed. It was surprisingly easy to disarm the blade wielding mugger, and even easier to break his arm while smashing his collar bone.

And here is where it gets strange.

The Hispanic/Apache man retreated several steps during this and right arm went behind his back. Something forced me to turn my head and look at him. My mind was still a blank with the exception of the punch I was about to execute to the shorter man's nose. It was wiped clean immediately, resulting in my left hand's index finger knuckle splitting over his hard, sandpaper tooth instead of his cartalige-filled nose. My hand quickly ran over with blood when the knuckle seemingly exploded but something didn't let me feel it. Something propelled me across a space of over 12 feet in time to snatch the Hispanic/Apache's jugular before his weapon passed his side. I didn't see what the weapon was, but when he dropped it, it made the distinct heavy thudding clatter only a firearm could provide. And yet, something would not let me look down at the weapon.

His right hand came up and toward my face, hand open and thumb extended (obviously headed for my left eye). My head went right, my arm went up, and his thumb went backwards. His left hand bee-lined it's way to his right hand, no doubt to grasp his abstract digit, and he screamed a cry of horrible pain. Immediately, my right hand gripped and I felt something buckle. The screaming sounded like someone had started wringing the sound itself out. It gargled, thick and jaded. I will never forget that sound so long as I live. I released, brought the right hand back, and thought about just letting him drop to the ground. Whatever it was that had thrown me to him and would not let me look, had now put an incomprehensible amount of kinetic energy into my right arm and it lashed out accordingly. There were at least four distinct crunches (much like the sound of biting down on ice) as my forearm and elbow connected with the left side of his ribcage.

I took a step back (I suppose I though he was going to attack, not realizing the severity of the wounds I had inflicted) and moved quickly into a defensive stance. He had slumped to the ground and was not even twitching. I looked back toward the shorter man and saw that he had no intentions of getting up. Terror started to creep up on me and that "something"'s last act was putting my teacher's words into my mind. A silk calm flowed through the twisted fiber of my muscles and I started to walk the three blocks to the nearest pay phone. I had ripped out a few sheets from the binder and tried to stop the constant flow from my knuckle. I arrived at the pay phone and dialed 911. I spoke briefly with the operator. I had simply told her that there had been an attempted mugging, I had fought back, and they were lying there, injured badly. I gave the address, and she asked me if I had been hurt at all. I said no and hung up before she asked for my name.

I later found out that both men had survived the incident, and although both had spent their fair share of time in the ICU, paticularly our gun-toting friend. I am not sure that charges were ever pressed, even what their names were. I knew at one time, but made a point of forgetting. There are just some things that you don't need following you through your life, and their names were on that list. I hope that they clean up their lives. I hope that some profound revelation came to them both while in the hospital. I hope... I hope that the "something" that saved my life back in that alleyway will do the same for them.

This is a true story (not to mention the most important one in my life to date). By all laws of physics, I should have been shot and should probably be dead right now. I cannot express to you how that has changed the way I feel about life. I appriciate it; far sooner than I would have. It wasn't going to be written until I came across this nodeshell and felt the profound urge to remember and start carrying it with me. Thank you, something.

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